Friday, December 22, 2006

TA in Terror, Pt 2 - Stamp Collecting

Narrative Analysis, the analysis of the story form through which ideologies is expressed and absorbed is a methodology by which the strengths, weakness, vulnerabilities, fracture lines, and potency of the ideology and organizations based on them can be engaged. In other words, money talks, but bullshit walks. And in Iraq and throughout the Muddle East, there is a lot of lethal bullshit walking around.

Previously I introduced the notion of Transactional Analysis (TA) as a tool to decode the basic bullshit game system of the dysfunctional Heroic Villain, based on his/her adoption of Heroic roles to mask Villainous roles such as the Rescuer who turns into a Manipulator to gain or retain control of things. As seen on TV a thief may deem himself a victim which entitles him to rob and/or steal and as such act as Bitch or Bastard, which invites Prosecution from the authorities, which returns the thief into a victim again. It’s the drama or Karpmann triangle.

At each role switch, TA tells us that there is a payoff, a gotcha, or prize for a successful role switch. The thief gets a payoff in terms of the cash stolen, but most thieves blow off the cash, as that isn’t the real objective which comes with his arrest and he gets what TA calls a “Stamp” which in this case is an arrest which entitles him to play victim again. That’s the Brat in full flower, and most of us know Brats that are continuously getting in trouble, and they love it as it gives them the attention that a Child needs. The ignored child doesn’t survive, and getting in trouble is a way of survival.

The process of gaining a Stamp is called a Game which when repeated habitually becomes a Script at the end of which all the Stamps can be cashed in for a free Grand Prize. TA classifies Stamps by color: White stamps are righteous stamps, Red stamps are anger stamps, Brown stamps are … brown, and as many colors as the analyst can imagine. The Narration of Al Qaeda is Red Stamp collecting with each Suicide Attack, which Stamps can be turned into a free White Stamp of Righteousness in the name of Allah. I have doubts that Allah has duly certified this Game system, as I doubt God has certified its Christian counterpart(s). Or Sunni or Shia.

While this may seem whimsical, I find it more than disturbing as I see the daily news with frantic families rushing blown up children to crowded hospitals, children in Africa with swollen bellies and flies in the eyes. Or American soldiers with missing parts yearning to get back into battle with what amounts to a murderous enemy bent on collecting Red and White stamps to fill dents in their Inner Child.

And that’s why they call it War, and War is Hell.

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